In order to successfully conduct an OSHA-approved forklift training session, the instructor must display a certain level of “knowledge, training, and experience”. In a preface to their December 1998 final ruling, OSHA states:

“OSHA has concluded that the final rule should adopt a performance-oriented approach to the qualifications of trainers and evaluators. As discussed above under issue 1, OSHA does not have the resources to evaluate and certify trainers and does not consider it necessary to do so. Trainers and evaluators with different backgrounds can achieve the level of ability necessary to teach and evaluate trainees. To meet these commenters’ concerns, OSHA has eliminated the term “designated person” from the final rule and has instead described the knowledge, skills, or experience any trainer or evaluator must have under the standard.”

With this in mind, there are many different paths to successfully become a forklift instructor. People in positions such as foreman, supervisor, and manager may have naturally gathered much of the necessary “knowledge, training, and experience” to instruct a forklift operator training program.

The best way to tell if you are ready to begin teaching your own OSHA-approved forklift training session is to ask yourself if you have the practical skills and judgement to be able to operate the equipment safely in the relevant conditions of the workplace. For example, if the equipment being used at a workplace uses certain truck attachments, then the trainer must be familiar with those attachments. If the trainer is not, then the trainer would not be considered to have the experience necessary to be able to train and assess others on the safe use of that equipment.

To put it simply, the instructor of a forklift operator training program must be knowledgeable about specific details of the forklift equipment at the specific site where they will be conducting the training session. For a comprehensive course that covers topics you need to know in order to become a forklift instructor, enroll in First Quality Forklift’s train-the-trainer program.

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